This year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has selected “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring ” as the celebratory theme for 2012.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department recognizes National Nurse Week from May 6 – May 12, 2012 in honor of the leadership, advocacy, and caring that nurses provide to our health care system. A proclamation acknowledging the commitment of local registered nurses toward improving the health care needs of our communities will be presented by Supervisor Steve Lavagnino at the May 1, 2012 at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Santa Barbara.

Now more than ever, RNs are positioned to assume leadership roles in health care, provide primary care services to meet increased demand, implement strategies to improve the quality of care, and play a key role in innovative, patient-centered care delivery models. The nursing profession is essential to improving patient outcomes, increasing access, coordinating care, and reducing health care costs. The public wants leaders they can trust — and nurses consistently rank at the top of a respected annual poll as the most trusted profession.

Nursing is the largest of the health care professions, and continues to grow. More job growth is projected in nursing than in any other occupation between 2008 and 2018. The public’s high regard for the profession, coupled with nurses’ education and skills, makes them well positioned to help transform the health care system into one that places more emphasis on prevention, wellness, and coordination of care.

This past year, Public Health Department nurses stepped up to meet many recent challenges.

Public Health nurses successfully managed to investigate and control complex tuberculosis and foodborne outbreak investigations and promote pertussis vaccination for adolescents as required per AB 354 in an effort to mitigate the recent pertussis epidemic. There have been increasing demands for primary care, high risk maternal/child public health nurse assessments, education and access to services, and a 30% increase in TB cases. Nurses provided much needed Healthy Neighbor’s events in both North and South County aimed at providing care for our vulnerable homeless population. Nurses worked diligently to treat the ill in our primary care clinics, educate our community, administer vaccinations, and investigate cases. The teamwork and dedication of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s nurses to promote community wellness remain critical to reducing the incidence and severity of illness in our community.


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